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  • Location: Hopkins, MN
  • Favorite foods: Butter, bacon, chocolate, cheese, pasta, potatoes, pepper, bread, dumplings, and Coke. And gravy.

Taste Test: The Best Supermarket Bacon

I would really like to see the runners-up for this. My favorite brand is Farmland, which comes in a couple different thicknesses, doesn't shrink up too much, and is just generally very delicious and balanced.

Kenji's Best Fast Food Awards (A Totally Biased, Completely Incomplete List)

@Elbereth1378 the Smashburger near me definitely is not serving garlic dill pickles, the last burger I got there had a big pile of sweet pickles on it. Maybe it varies regionally? (I'm in Minnesota)

Kenji's Best Fast Food Awards (A Totally Biased, Completely Incomplete List)

Wendy's fries are definitely better than they used to be, but I think they're only good right out of the fryer, just like McDonald's.
I like Smashburger but they don't have regular pickles, just bread and butter pickles! That is a total deal breaker for me. I'd rather go to Culver's for my smashed burger. Especially if you get their Wisconsin Swiss Melt where they put red onions on the griddle and smash the meat over them, then serve it on grilled caraway rye with Swiss cheese....AND you can get it with cheese curds for a side! (They have decent onion rings too. But skip the crinkle cut fries.)
And speaking of onion rings, I don't know if this is accurate but Burger King's onion rings remind me of breading filled with semi-molten onion jello. Which is not to say I don't enjoy them. They're certainly better than their miserable fries. Every time they "improve" their fries they just find a different way for them to be terrible. They used to be sort of like a crappy imitation of McDonald's, then they went to that weird invisible batter crap that gave them an odd texture and chemical aftertaste, and now they are thick and dry. There's not enough ketchup in the world to fix them.

The Food Lab: My 11 Favorite Recipes of the Year, 2014

That steaming method for hard boiled eggs was life-changing. Never have I made and peeled eggs so quickly and easily! And I'm really looking forward to trying the General Tso's recipe since that's my husband's favorite Chinese takeout item.

Turkey and Stuffing Waffle Croque-Madame Sandwich

Oh my god. I didn't think anything could be better than the stuffing waffle but this sounds so delicious. Cheese gravy!!! Cheese and gravy are two of my favorite foods, I can't believe I haven't tried mixing them together before now.

A Fast Food Thanksgiving That's Actually Delicious

I can't wait to try that potato gratin recipe. That sounds amazing!

How to Make the Best Thanksgiving Turkey Burgers

I think the point of this recipe was to make a burger that tastes like Thanksgiving, which means you'd want to use turkey instead of beef. I don't think healthy was a concern in this instance.

The Best Spiced Nuts From Trader Joe's

I love the spicy pecans! I crush them and use to coat small rounds of goat cheese that I serve on top of a beet salad with maple vinaigrette dressing.

Chewy Gluten-Free Granola Bars

I just made these and they were very easy and delicious! A few suggestions: I used salted almonds and added some dried tart cherries to the mix along with the chocolate chips. And while I was able to get it out of the pan all in one piece, it wasn't easy. Lining the pan with parchment paper or waxed paper would have made it much easier. I would definitely make this recipe again. It would be easy to change up the add-ins to get some different flavors.

Sweet Technique: How to Make Italian Meringue

@M.Birman the Italian meringue gets heated to a much higher temperature than the Swiss version (usually you heat the egg whites up to about 160 for Swiss meringue) whereas you are pouring 240 degree sugar syrup into your eggs for the Italian version. Cooking the eggs more makes the meringue a lot sturdier. (Think about cooking eggs, the more you cook them the more solid they become!)

Manner Matters: How to Share Food Without Being Rude

I don't mind sharing food/double dipping/eating off the same part that someone else bit off...but only with my friends, not with random people I don't know well. And I think it would be weird and rude for me to ask a casual acquaintance for a bite of their food if they don't offer it first.

And on the topic of getting sick: my best friend will often steal a sip of my Coke if we are out to eat. And she always uses my straw. Once, we were out for brunch and she did that. 12 hours later, I was prostrate in the bathroom with a nasty norovirus. And 12 hours after that, so was she! Norovirus is EXTREMELY contagious from things like shared food. But hey, at least we *both* got to lose 5 pounds....

Cook the Book: 'The Nourished Kitchen' by Jennifer McGruther

Homemade strawberry jam made from berries you go hand-pick yourself.

Quick Barbecue Beans

This is very similar to my mom's "calico beans" recipe. The main difference is she adds ground beef in addition to the bacon, and usually kidney beans in addition to the varieties you have listed.

Super Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

It sounds like a lot of people are having issues with laminated dough...which makes that whole recent debate about how INCREDIBLY EASY it's supposed to be to make puff pastry at home even more hilarious. It actually is somewhat tricky to make laminated dough your first few times. That said, here are a few tips for success:
1. Make sure all your butter pieces are well coated with flour when you are initially working the pieces into the dry ingredients.
2. You want everything cold, but not TOO cold. If your butter is super cold, it can tear through your dough when you roll it. This can make all the butter leak out during baking.
3. Watch the edges of your dough when you are rolling and folding. If you see chunks of butter poking through, your dough is too cold, let it sit out a bit before you continue. Patch any spots of butter sticking out with some flour, and do another fold and roll.

Win a Copy of 'Robicelli's: A Love Story, With Cupcakes'

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Welcome, Vicky! Great first post! That giant plate of breakfast and that crispy edged burger look SO DELICIOUS. Looking forward to a full report from Kenji on those. *drools on keyboard*

I loved the epic Pixel face. And Cricket is adorable as always, but....I am pretty sure Cricket is a "she" and not a "he"!!!

3 Recipes for Using Easy Blitz Puff Pastry

Yay! When I saw the recipe for blitz puff a few days ago, the first thing I thought of was apple turnovers!! And I think I might try that plum tart recipe, but with peaches instead! (But nobody judge me if I decide to make them with the Pepperidge Farm dough instead if I'm feeling lazy!)

Manner Matters: Should You Tattle on Kids Sneaking Food?

I would personally feel a little bit weirded out to talk to the girl's parent after the fact, I think there is too much chance of that coming off as either creepy or overly critical. Then again, it really depends on the personality of the parent and the closeness of the friendship. But I see nothing wrong with pointing out the behavior as it happens the next time you see them. (And if it's a regular behavior, it's quite likely she will do it again next time.)

The Best Sweets We Ate in May

3 years of working at a Dairy Queen in high school gave me a lifelong love for that crunch/fudge layer in the middle of their ice cream cakes...THAT stuff is pure crack.

As far as the past month goes, Costco started selling these croissant/cinnamon roll hybrids that are ridiculously delicious. They seem to magically appear in my cart every time I go there now...

Does Refrigeration Really Ruin Bread?

I don't mind if my bread gets a little's a good excuse to make French toast, bread pudding, stuffing, croutons.....yum.

What You Should Know About Eating Out With Allergies

I work in a restaurant that tries very hard to cater to all allergies (our primary customers are children). If someone tells us they are allergic to something, we will stop everything, clean the prep area, get out new dishes, open fresh packages of items, everyone washes hands/changes gloves, etc. All of these precautions tend to slow down the kitchen, resulting in diners having to wait longer for their food. We are happy to do that if it's necessary, but it's REALLY annoying and inconsiderate for a customer to put us through all that when they don't actually have an allergy (for example they "feel kinda bloated" if they eat a ton of gluten or they hate onions but are embarrassed to act picky and just ask for no onions). So many people are claiming allergies now, it's hard for the staff to know who is really serious. We always err on the safe side, but I'm sure there are other places who don't, which makes going out to eat more dangerous for those with legitimate allergies.

Two things for a diner with allergies to know (both things I have encountered):
1. If you order something special because you have an allergy, please understand your order may take longer than usual to prepare due to the precautions we have to take. Nothing is more frustrating for the server than to have a customer order a dish with extensive modifications, then complain at how long the food took to come out.
2. Don't be offended if we ask questions. We are not questioning the existence or legitimacy of your allergy, we are just trying not to make you ill. Many peoples "gluten allergy" is actually a mild intolerance or just a preference. We need to know that so we can tell you what *not* to order. I have had people snap at me for asking if they are able to eat items that have been made in a facility that also processes nuts, or cooked in a fryer that is also used for items containing gluten. Sample exchange: a woman asked what items were gluten free. I mentioned that the fries are gluten free, but they are cooked in the same fryer as the (gluten covered) chicken tenders. Reply: "Well, then they're NOT gluten free, then, are they?? Thanks for nothing!" Hey, we have to ask. Same for nut allergies. Some people can't eat nuts but are fine with items made in a facility that also processes nuts. And some people aren't. We are only asking so we can give you the widest possible range of items to choose from.

How to Make Juicy Turkey Burgers With Three Delicious Toppings

A turkey burger isn't too bad if you mix the meat with several minced garlic cloves and a good fistful of grated Parmesan cheese.

Win a Serious Eats Edition KettlePizza Baking Steel Combo for Father's Day!

Fresh veggies from the garden in the backyard....especially a variety of chiles!

Robyn Lee Is Leaving Serious Eats a Mere 7 1/2 Years After She Got Here

Robyn, I'm going to miss your illustrations and humor on this site SO MUCH!! I hope you will maybe send in some guest posts from time to time so we can see what you are up to! Also, my cats would like you to know that they have enjoyed attacking your GIFs on my iPad screen (omg it moved! Kill it!! Swat!)

The Best Egg Salad

My favorite vehicle for egg salad is squishy hot dog buns...less likely to lose lots of it to squishing out the sides that way. Also, I like Miracle Whip instead of mayo, lots of coarse black pepper, and I wouldn't say no to some bacon either.

Deviled eggs

Every year at Easter, I look forward to having deviled eggs. I have been the designated deviled-egg maker for our family since I was 5 years old! Our "recipe" consists of mashing up the yolks with Miracle Whip (never mayo!) and black pepper, and dusting the filled eggs with paprika. (Not exactly gourmet, I know, but it's what I grew up with and still enjoy.) When I was a kid, we would just spoon the filling into the whites. Nowadays, I like to pipe it in with a pastry bag and large star tip, or scoop it neatly with a small cookie scoop.

I love deviled eggs the way I make them, but I know there are zillions of variations on the recipe out there. Who else out there makes deviled eggs for Easter, and what do you put in them? Any fun or fancy garnishes?

Culinary land mines

One of the worst things that can happen while you are eating is to suddenly encounter an ingredient that you hate without any prior warning that it's about to hit your mouth. Reactions range from quiet disappointment to grimacing to straight up spitting it out. My top 3 land mines are:

1. Stealth raisins. Either they are cleverly disguising themselves as chocolate chips, or they are golden raisins hanging out in something the same color as they are. Always an unpleasant surprise. I don't hate raisins, I just want to know they are there before I bite into one.
2. Cilantro. If it's all chopped up or blended in with a chutney or pesto, it's hard to tell that you are about to get a mouthful of soapy horror instead of a pleasant herb. (I'm one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes just like a leaf made out of dish soap. Ick.)
3. Bread and butter pickles. These are the WORST! One of the saddest things to happen in your mouth is expecting a nice dill pickle and instead getting a bite of slimy, weirdly sweet cucumber abuse. One of the few foods that I will literally spit out if it accidentally winds up in my mouth.

Does anyone else have experiences like this, or am I a total weirdo?

Too many dried chiles!

I bought a bag of dried New Mexican chiles to make a recipe which called for six of them. My grocery store only sells chiles in huge, gallon-sized bags, so now I have MANY chiles. I didn't like the dish I made enough to make it six more times. Any suggestions? I looked at Kenji's chili recipe, but he suggests using several different kinds of chiles, so that would only make my excess chiles problem even worse!!

What dippers should I buy for my hot cheese dip?

I spent a long, indecisive time in the cracker aisle today, unable to decide on a cracker or chip to buy. I'm making a hot dip that has cream cheese, gruyere, a little garlic, caramelized onions, and bacon. Do I want crostini? Lavosh? Pita chips? Wheat thins? Help!

Pizza peel substitute?

I really want to try Kenji's NY style pizza recipe this week. I have all the ingredients, a food processor, a scale, a pizza stone....but I don't have a peel! Cooks Illustrated suggests building on a flipped over half sheet pan, but that seems so awkward! Would a flat, rimless cookie sheet work ok? Or does anyone have a different suggestion?

Death Valley sous vide!

Death Valley hit 135 degrees today! I wonder if you sealed a few steaks in vacuum bags and left them there for several hours, would you wind up with some perfect medium rare steaks?

Uncle George's Greek Taverna recipes?

Uncle George's Greek Taverna in NY was my sister's favorite restaurant when she lived there. We just found out the restaurant has closed. I would love to be able to re-create a few of her favorite dishes. They had a braised beef dish that was large chunks of beef in a tomato based sauce, and lemon potatoes that seemed to have been cooked in oil and lemon, possibly confit style? Any recipes or advice would be welcome.

Help! My smoke alarm hates it when I broil!

I broiled some beef koftes last week because I don't currently have a grill. They were on a rack set in a half sheet pan lined with foil. 3/4 of the way through cooking, the drippings started to smoke, setting off all the smoke alarms. I thought I read in a magazine that I could put something on the baking sheet to absorb the drippings so they wouldn't smoke. Salt, or baking soda maybe? I can't remember and I can't find the magazine either. Opening all the doors and windows isn't the most practical solution at my house, the cats always try to escape/shred my window screens.

What to do with maple sugar?

I got a holiday gift box containing a bottle of maple syrup and a bag of maple sugar. The syrup has long since been consumed with waffles, but I am not sure what to do with the maple sugar. I know it was expensive, so I would like to use it for something special. Ideas and/or recipes welcome!

Italian vs Swiss buttercream: is there a big difference?

I have made Swiss buttercream a few times and liked it, but a friend just sent me a recipe for an amazing-looking raspberry buttercream that starts with an Italian buttercream base. I have never tackled Italian buttercream because hot sugar syrup makes me nervous. On the other hand, whisking egg whites by hand over a double boiler to make Swiss buttercream isn't that much fun either. Is there a huge flavor or texture difference between the two methods that would make it worth branching out?

The Food Lab: The Hard Truth About Boiled Eggs

The secret to peeling hard boiled eggs? Well "secret" might be a bit of an exaggeration. Here's the truth: there is no 100% fool-proof method I've found, and I do believe I've tried them all, many, many times over. That said, a bit of the old scientific method has helped to greatly increase my success rate. I can now pretty routinely produce perfectly boiled eggs with clean-peeling shells, and you can too! More

The Best General Tso's Chicken

If the British can proudly call Chicken Tikka Masala their national dish, then surely it's time that General Tso got his chicken in our national spotlight. Everybody knows the candy-sweet take-out joint version, but I firmly believe that it has the potential to be so much more than that. How great would a homemade version of General Tso's be, with a flavor that shows some real complexity and a texture that takes that crisp-crust-juicy-center balance to the extreme? Our version does just that. More

The Food Lab: How To Make The Best Fajitas

I'm not particularly proud of my time time spent working at the kinds of cheesy chain restaurants you'd find next to the Victoria's Secret at the mall or perhaps in Times Square. But aside from making me shun any writer that uses the phrase "X to perfection," it did teach me one valuable lesson: People looooooove meat served on a sizzling platter. Today at The Food Lab, we figure out the best way to make them at home. More